Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Doesn't time fly! In my last blog I was bemoaning struggling my way through my last assignment and now it is almost complete- just in time for Christmas thank goodness. My daughter has almost finished her mocks and even the puppy seems house trained at last!I intend to give myself a complete 'textile' break over the festive season and then launch into my work for the next Material Girls exhibition (October 13th -24th 2008) before I have to start into my last level 1 degree module in February. I think it is going to prove a busy year 2008 so I think a rest before the storm is exactly what is required now. So to all my fellow bloggers I wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

I have been working on my last assignment for this degree module and its been a bit of an uphill struggle but I think I may be reaching the brow of the hill now as I go onto creating samples for the final piece. We have been looking at own domestic environment - not my favourite topic as my inspiration tends to come from the natural world into which I escape given every opportunity- and it has resulted in an awful lot of soul searching about my roles within the household and the resentment I sometimes feel when my artistic interests have to come last. Does everyone expect me to become subservient to their needs or do I expect myself to carry it all to prove I can cope?

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Finally I've managed to get internet access again but it may be short lived as it has been down all week! An engineer is coming out tomorrow - if he can't fix it I don't quite know what we'll do.
Just to say that the Material Girls website is finally back in action www.thematerialgirls.co.uk .

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Just a quick entry today to say that the Eastern Region Textile Forum membership packs and launch day details are ready . Anyone wanting one just e-mail ertextileforum@yahoo.co.uk
I've also just finished my 'neck corset' and as soon as I download the pictures I'll post one. Now its on to the final assignment for this module which will see me engulfed by the mountains of bags in which I carry my life- more another time!

Monday, 12 November 2007

I have been catching up with all the work put on hold whilst I was in hospital. The ERTF meeting went fairly well last week and I think we are just about there with the membership packs although I might need to do a bit of chasing if they are going to be ready for distribution by next week. Tomorrow I have the monthly Material Girls meeting and again I think I will be doing a bit of gentle pushing to make sure that the group is on target for our exhibition next October.
Finally I'm pushing myself to get this 3rd OPUS assignment done. I have been using the computer a lot in the design this this time and am producing (I hope) a 'neck corset' that will be beaded to represent both status and control that 'clothing' the neck symbolises.It is giving me the opportunity to play with some different materials to create the corset and I am now deciding between Formafelt (which might prove to heavy) and Kozo. I'll let you know which way I go.

Monday, 5 November 2007

What a week! Was taken into hospital and have just escaped so as I'm on ' light duties' at the moment thought I would take time to update this blog esp. for any OPUS people dropping in. Having now left the Miao and their Textiles I am looking in depth at the Elizabethan Ruff and how important the symbolism of the neck is in various cultures. Once again its a case of so much stuff so little time but it is fascinating to see 'ruffesc' items can be found in so many cultures. The most ironic thing is the way the Elizabethan ruff gradually comes to almost separate the head from the body (need I say more!).
OPUS group I people if you want to set up a blog click the heading at the top of this page and off you go. See you in Blog land!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Its been half-term week so as usual I've been trying to work around the family which means basically in the evening. I have been producing samples for the 2nd assignment in the 'Cultural Stitch' module of my degree. I like the bulk of the subject but this one has been producing samples from waste -talk about here we go again! "Do something recycled" turns up everywhere. Anyhow I've produced the required number of samples from a load of rubbish and its least its over. They are supposed to take inspiration from your cultural research, in my case the Miao, at least its unlikely they'll ever see them thank goodness.
Next I'm looking at the Elizabethan Ruff and how the neck has been regarded by different cultures (which I have also researched in my previous theory module) I'm looking forward to this bit as I get to produce a finished piece.
For everyone's amusement I'll put up a couple of 'rubbish' pictures as soon as I download them.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Spent Saturday demonstrating at the Warner archive in Braintree. We had a steady stream of interested visitors. I wish I was on commission for babylock embellishers -I would have made a fortune judging the interest.
Having spent the day there I began getting annoyed at the lack of gallery space in my own area. We have one decent gallery which is located in a school (our Material Girls 2006 exhibition is in the picture above) and is a great space but because of its location it suffers from lack of visitors from the general public although education in the area makes great use of it. Other than that there's the odd wall in a library. We suffer from the great suburban no mans land syndrome- we have the talent in the area but if we want to display it we have to go outside into London or off to a 'tourist area' miles away. London, of course, is prohibitively expensive to us ordinary mortals and we get no funding really for the arts (or indeed for anything else much).We are located in a big suburban wasteland. Lets hope that when the ERTF is off the ground we will be able to do something about it.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

I'm just emerging from a close encounter with the Miao again.Another sketchbook completed, two more to go for this module plus samples, finished items etc... sometimes I wonder why I do this. I've been looking at the fine quality of the stitching in my Miao pieces, they are so tiny the stitches they make my own work look clumsy. The Dogs are also looking a bit bemused as I am brushing them furiously at the moment because the next part of the module is to produce samples from waste that are inspired by the culture we are currently studying. Needless to say silk felt by the Miao equates to dog hair from Essex- not as quite so romantic is it!

Sunday, 14 October 2007

A busy day. Whipped around the knitting and stitching show at Ally Pally this morning and spent far too much as normal but really managed to stock up on some lovely interesting things Kozo, lutradur and loads of different fibres to felt and embellish with. I'm so fired up to experiment for my next OPUS module. I also visited the Val Campbell- Harding display curated by Maggie Grey, it was wonderful as you would expect and I could have spent ages pouring over every item if I had had time, she was a very clever lady and Maggie has done her proud. Several other displays in the graduate showcase took my eye as well as the 62 group's stand and the work of Tilleke Schwartz- which I didn't think I liked until I saw it in the flesh.I also really liked the work of Suhandan Ozay and his wonderful shoes.
Also got lots of various silk fibres to try and create a version of the Miao Silk felt. On that front I was lucky enough to buttonhole Gina Corrigan for a tour of her Miao costumes and she answered several queries I had about their construction and materials. You really don't appreciate the finest of the stitching until you are up close and personal with the actual objects. And the icing on the cake- I am now the lucky owner of two tiny pieces of Miao embroidery!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

So much stitching so little time! Deep in the study of the Miao I just don't seem to be able to tear myself away to blog so here's a couple of samples to be going on with.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Spent and interesting Saturday in the British Museum. Tried to get tickets for the Terracotta Warriors but completely sold out, so visited all the areas I haven't been to in about 15 years. They certainly seem to have improved the place even my husband enjoyed it! There were some wonderful festival costumes on display and several modern pieces by African artists which have sparked off some ideas. However I still can't stand being in the Egyptian rooms and felt quite panicky until I was out of there. That film the Mummy has a lot to answer for!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

I now seemed to have left the lazy days of summer behind with a vengeance. Yesterday we had our first official launch committee meeting for the Eastern Region Textile Forum. It went extremely well and my colleagues who have offered to help get this venture 'off the ground' are a marvelous bunch willing to put in so much commitment it makes me feel quite guilty. The forum will launch on April 19th next year at the Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford so anyone interested in joining should contact me via this site and I can send you out detailed information. We are proposing a group to promote textile art in Eastern England by conferences, e-newsletter, forging links with organisations, exhibitions, discussion forums,education, a mentoring list, and basically anything else that the membership desires. It was born out of indignation for the lack of support and gravitas that is given to Textile Art and I hope it will be a small step to righting this wrong. We want to draw together all textile disciplines not just those of us who stitch. It will mean a lot of hard work but should also become something exciting and dynamic.
Talking of hard work I am starting my Cultural Stitch module for OPUS and I feel really excited it gives me the opportunity to explore with permission those areas I don't normally allow myself time for.
Someone said to me the other day that they admire my calmness if only they knew I am a bit like a swan- serene on the surface but paddling like heck below the waterline!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Sometimes I feel like one big contradiction. I love the idea of travelling to far off exotic places but I hate getting there and I need to know that all at home are OK All the time. I enjoy studying but I begrudge it when it impinges on what I need to do for my family. Its the same with Autumn- I don't like this season because I feel everything is dying and shutting down for the year but it also means that in my textile world everything is on the move again and the colours and hips and haws are wonderful. Study begins again, all the institutions and Galleries are back in full swing, people are home from their holidays and eager to get started on things and the children are back in school which gives me some free space to work. Is it just me? or are we all contradictory beings.
One new thing was Teddy went for his first walk, well more of a wriggly,romp really with his best friend Barney. I certainly felt well exercised by the end of it!

Saturday, 8 September 2007

We had a very successful trip to Chelmsford on Thursday to look at venues to hold the launch of the Eastern Region Textile Forum. A couple were suitable but the Anglia Ruskin University was definitely our favourite and the venue we hope to use. Hopefully by next week we will have finalised venue and date and I will be able to publish details on this blog.
Looking around and discussing details has made me feel that this might actually happen- a forum based in this part of England might finally give Textile Art the profile it deserves.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The kids are finally back to school and life can start moving,textilewise, again. I am working hard on my three pieces I am submitting to PRISM in a couple of weeks time. I don't know if any will be accepted as it has been a bit of a rush because of being accepted to the group late in the year I haven't had the full time to work on them but I am enjoying creating something completely new in concept.
Tomorrow we are off to scout venues for the launch of the Eastern Region Textile Forum. We have preliminary examined 3 and are now going for a closer look and to to examine the facilities further.I hope by tomorrow evening we will have a definite venue and date to work towards.

Material Girls recommences next week and we will be working towards our next exhibition in earnest. October 2008 sounds a long way off but it will be here all too soon.
The pocket rocket continues to cause havoc but he has had the last of his jabs this week so by the end of next week we will be able to take him out for a walk which should burn off some of the energy.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Stitch at the Archive previewed yesterday and seemed well attended even first thing in the morning when I went. It was good to meet up with old friends and to see how pieces that you have seen in 'the making' have reached a conclusion. I particularly liked the small Chinese jackets and Lesley Agombar's beautiful grey and silver piece. If you are in Essex in the next 2 months do pop in and have a look. After we ate in the Herb garden cafe next to the museum which I would thoroughly recommend. I am looking forward to returning for my demonstration day when I will have the time to have a closer look at all the pieces.

Friday, 31 August 2007

The pocket rocket, as we have now nicknamed our new addition, has more than found his feet this week. His favourite game is to hang on to the tail of our cavalier spaniel when he is running, take all for feet off the ground and take a free flight! needless to say this doesn't go down well with Barney (the spaniel) nor does the fact they Teddy has decided that Barney is his mother. Still fortunately Barney is blessed with a placid nature and the two of them are getting on quite well (that doesn't go quite so much for the cats though).
Teddy also likes to sit on my lap whilst I am sewing so its a case of fending him off the threads every now and then- its amazing how dexterous I have become.
I'm off to the private view at Braintree tomorrow so it will be interesting to see what the exhibition is like. I am not happy with my own piece as my work has changed considerably I feel since I completed this but I look forward to seeing the work of the other exhibitors.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Hurrah! I've posted off my latest OPUS module to Dorothy Tucker to assess. Its been a bit of a slog trying to fit a theory module around school summer holidays but I've managed to complete it before deadline - you know what they say 'If you want something doing ask a busy women'. I just hope I have done enough to pass it so I don't have to re-do anything.
I am also looking forward to getting back to stitching. I've been on the course for over a year now and only spent a single semester stitching ( which seems a bit ironic when doing an embroidery degree). This is mainly because they have juggled the order of the modules but at least the 2 I have left in this level are both practical so even OPUS can't get me doing yet another theory module.
I did enjoy a couple of aspects of this module though, mainly the research. It was lovely getting to handle so many old textiles and embroideries and hearing the stories attached to them so I must say a big thank you to all those people who searched in their attics and cupboards and gave me their time, memories and help. I also loved going behind the scenes at Killerton to look at this National Trust costume collection- it just reaffirmed my interest in costume. Finally I enjoyed researching the work of current textile artists and in doing so fell in love with the work of Nicola Henley.

Friday, 24 August 2007

1 September -3 November
Warners Mill,
Silks Way,
open weds.-sat 11am -4pm
tel.01376 557741

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Eastern Region Textile Forum contact ertextileforum@yahoo.co.uk
What an intense few days. The tiny bundle of energy otherwise known as the puppy has been running rings around me but is finally settling in and our other dog is learning to put up with him. I even found the two of them curled up together the other day.
I met with some friends and fellow textile artists and we are starting to get the Eastern Region Textile Forum off the ground. The idea is to facilitate links between textile artists of all disciplines in our region of England by holding a twice yearly meeting, publishing an e-newsletter, holding joint exhibitions, creating a mentoring register/scheme to improve textile education and organising other events. So if you are reading this, are interested and located in East London,Essex, Cambridge,Suffolk, Norfolk, or Herts Just send an e-mail to the link on the page. We hope to launch in Spring 2008.
The Archive exhibition will soon be upon us and I am sure it will be really interesting. I have put details above. Braintree itself is a really good place to visit for textile things (and very good lunches) so I'm hoping we'll have lots of visitors. I am demonstrating on Saturday 20th October and there are lots of other demos and workshops going on throughout the exhibition.
Finally I am trying to get the last bits of my OPUS module together before assessment day and am working hard on my pieces for PRISM. Other than that nothing much going on and I am now going to have a lie down!

Monday, 20 August 2007

Our new puppy has arrived! He's adorable but a bundle of mischief. Barney's not too sure about this whirlwind who has disrupted his life but the cats are fine. Teddy- as Kirsty has named him- is certainly a character and very confident and is a delight to have in the family especially after we lost poor Max.
The husband also went back to work today so at last I can start getting back to all things textile. I have made contact with a Suffolk group who are also looking to form a forum so we might be able to collaborate and produce something really good. We so need to get networking going between textile artists, we need to to support each other and thus improve the profile of textile art and our own professional practice. We will get a dedicated gallery for textile art in the RA summer exhibition one of these days!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

I've been looking through some of the photographs I took whilst in Scotland and there is a lot of usable material there. It has led me to some thoughts re;- the value of photography and sketchbooks. A lot is made of the importance of sketching - and indeed I believe to obtain a truly individual approach to design we do need to draw -but because of personal circumstances I find it difficult to sketch from primary sources when out and about. After all when out for trips with a family who really have no interest in anything 'arty' even sitting still for a moment causes problems. But I can use my camera and I find it helps me to isolate the part of the image I want succinctly. The photos accompanied by quick notes on the atmosphere and feeling of the place,etc.. can then be taken home and thanks to the wonders of digital photography and the computer can be instantly printed, manipulated and drawn from in my own time. This is how I see my sketchbooks developing in the future. So lets hear it for photography and not be quite so precious about it.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Well I'm back from Scotland and I can't say I'm sorry as it was so wet. I may have left behind the seals, the lochs and the sunsets but I've also left the rain, the midges and the mountains. I don't like mountains they make me feel too hemmed in -give me flat open fens were you can see for miles any day. As they say 'there's no place like home'.
I was also sad at the lack of textiles I found in the highlands- miles of tartan and tweed but hardly anyone producing textile art there. I also didn't get as much outdoor sketching done as I wanted as the weather was so bad. I did manage to photograph quite a lot of material though and I'm sure a lot of this will be useful. My next task now is to set up the East Anglia Textile Forum - more on this later.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

I'm off to the Scottish Highlands and as the saying goes 'I may be some time'. While I'm there I am hoping to get some serious sketching and photography done towards my own work. I would like to work on some micro-landscapes for my next pieces, however, I am really looking forward to working with a brighter palette of colours in the next next OPUS module Cultural Stitch. Having spent the last few months researching the social history of embroidery it will be so nice to mentally travel the world rather than the library.

I have started the wheels in motion towards creating a regional textile forum and it has made a promising start. I feel passionately that we should work alongside other textile disciplines and not just confine ourselves to our own. I consider it is the only way that we will ever get taken seriously as artists not just labelled ' embroiderers'.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Essex often gets a bad press but if you look closely it is a beautiful place and nowhere more so than the marshy coastline and the single Egret that inspired this piece. By creating a transparent central panel it enables me to incorporate the actual place and has started a series of work.
'Through silver mists a single star shines'

Yesterday was a busy day. Had a meeting about redesigning my exhibiting group's website and a new project we are planning which then turned into a very pleasant lunch.Have managed to almost finish my current BA module which I am extremely pleased about and am well into working on my triptych of pieces based on birds in landscape. The most exciting thing I have done today was go and choose my new puppy! After losing my poor old boy the house has seemed rather empty but as soon as we return from Scotland we will be picking up the 8 week old bundle of mischief my daughter has called Teddy. Things are starting to move again.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

This is my first post and as I am fairly new to all things web please forgive any mistakes.I have started this to make it easier to make contact with the many people all over the world that I have met through studying with OPUS, to talk about all things Textile and to chart my voyage through my degree. To anyone who happens across this blog - I hope you enjoy it.